Understanding when Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Work “Counts” in Faculty Evaluation
Colleges and universities are urgently investing in diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts after longstanding and recent calls for racial justice. Much of this labor will be taken up by BIPOC faculty who were already engaged. Yet numerous national surveys, interviews, exit studies, and tenure denials consistently report that when it comes to their tenure and promotion, DEI does not “count,” or they are not sure whether and how DEI worked counted in decisions made.
Dr. Jennifer Wessel (co-PI), in collaboration with Dr. KerryAnn O’Meara (PI; UMD, Education) and Dr. Damani White-Lewis (co-PI; UMD, Education), will study the effects of “nudges” (i.e., small changes aimed at guiding behavior in a decision-making context) on encouraging evaluators of faculty to value DEI work. Specifically, in a between-subjects experimental survey design, biology and engineering faculty will evaluate faculty dossiers and we will examine the effects of different nudge interventions on the weighting of DEI work in the evaluation process. This project received federal funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
This study is the first to use an experimental design to test faculty weighting of DEI in tenure decisions in a STEM field. The study will also contribute to the emerging literature on nudges in higher education organizations and their utility in faculty affairs.
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